Lift Bridge Brewing plans to break ground in August on a $10 million production and distribution facility in a Stillwater industrial park, a decade after the company opened in a Stillwater garage.
The 35,000-square-foot facility will be about three-times larger than its current quarters, located less than a half-mile away.
Lift Bridge, one of the 10 largest Minnesota brewers, is still growing in a local-brewing industry that has swelled from about a dozen to more than 125 tiny-to-small craft brewers over the last decade.
Co-founder Brad Glynn declined to disclose financials, but said Lift Bridge brewed 19,000 barrels of beer in 2017, up from 8,000 in 2014.
“We hope to increase barrelage up to 23,000 barrels this year,” Glynn said.
Glynn and three other founders will finance the expansion through company revenue and bank debt.
Lift Bridge, which distributes primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin, said earlier that the new facility would allow it to expand its taproom, cooler storage and distribution, and produce up to 70,000 barrels of beer annually.
Lift Bridge has requested $1 million in public financing, which could be paid back over time from its incremental increase in property taxes. The company is in negotiations with Stillwater and Washington County, which support the expansion, on whether it will receive tax-increment or other subsidy.
“Lift Bridge Brewing has been a tremendous addition to Stillwater’s economy, and we are pleased with their decision,” Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski said.
Glynn, 41, said the new facility means that full- and part-time employment will grow from 45-plus to more than 60 workers over time, including those who promote Lift Bridge at beer samplings and festivals.
“My [partners] and I decided it would be cool to brew right here in Stillwater,” Glynn said. “None of us quit our day jobs until recently. We tried to grow smartly.”